Ben Carson Is So Desperate He’s Sending Mash Notes to Me

So what’s so strange about GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson (R-Pyramid Scheme) romancing a person such as I?

Just that I have a) been a registered independent for almost 40 years and b) never voted in a Republican primary all that time.

But why get technical about it.

Because it really was kind of exciting to get this envelope in the mail the other day.


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Wait, what?

Lithograph Enclosed?

Shut up!

But first there was this.

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Highlight: The lithographed enclosed was commissioned just so I could have it! How special is that – not just to Dr. Carson, but to me!

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Highlight: I’ve surely honored God’s call to sacrifice in my own unique ways. Maybe as the World’s Oldest Living Altar Boy?

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Highlight: Not a clue.

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Highlight: This is all about the money.

So . . . that very personal, very special portrait:


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As weird as all that is, it’s nothing compared to the Carson robocall the Missus recently received. Weird because the Missus is a longtime registered Democrat – but hey, why get technical about it.

Partial transcript (because Ben Carson’s speaking style is sort of Prose Muzak, I fell asleep several times):

. . . launched my campaign . . . taking on a broken system in Washington and speaking truth to the American people . . . huge target on my back . . . attacks from politically correct . . . afraid of impressive grassroots support from all across the country . . . politically correct police out to get me . . . never stop fighting for what I believe . . . Washington is broken  . . . time for an outsider candidate to clean up the mess . . . one nation under God . . .

And etc. – especially please give me some money.

Then again (via WMUR) . . .

NH staff at pro-Carson super PAC quits to volunteer for Cruz

Five paid staffers’ last day was Sunday, call Cruz a ‘conservative who can win’


MANCHESTER, N.H. —All five paid New Hampshire staffers at the pro-Ben Carson 2016 Committee super PAC quit their posts on Sunday to become volunteers for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has learned.

Jerry Sickles of Keene, the spokesman for the staff, said he and the other four staffers recently came to the conclusion that Cruz is the conservative most able to win the GOP presidential nomination and the presidency. He also noted that Carson has spent very little time campaigning in New Hampshire, which became frustrating to him and the other staffers as they tried to build support in the state.

So, to recap: Ben Carson hasn’t been willing to make the sacrifice of actually running for president. But he is willing to go the extra mile to make money.

That’s so 2016.

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Ad Nauseum: Why the New Republic Is – No Surprise – for Sale

As the hardworking staff has noted on numerous occasions, Chris Hughes, boy publisher of The Nude – sorry, New – Republic, hasn’t seen an inside-page ad in maybe 18 months. from all appearances, the Richie Rich of opinion journalism was floating the whole kit and caboodle himself.

And so this headline, via the Wall Street Journal, was inevitable.

New Republic Owner Chris Hughes Puts Magazine Up For Sale

Facebook co-founder, who purchased the title in 2012, says magazine needs a new business model


The New Republic, the century-old magazine that was rocked a year ago by the mass exodus of its staff following an effort by its owner to make it more digitally focused, is being put up for sale.

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook who purchased a majority stake in the struggling title in 2012, said in a staff memo Monday that he had underestimated “the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate,” and would seek to find a new owner.

(Are those vultures lined up in that photo? You’d like to think so.)

Hughes says he’s dumped $20 million into the Incredible Shrinking Magazine (it’s down to 10 issues a year), with dismal results. Beyond the ad-free zone of its print edition, the magazine’s website is increasingly a Potemkin village, with traffic in recent months down 38% from the previous year.

So, to recap: Chris Hughes took a magazine that lost relatively small amounts of money each year and turned it into a money pit of epic proportions – not to mention a shadow of its former self editorially.

It’s that old joke all over: How do you make $20 million in the magazine business? Start with $40 million.

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Peggy Noonan’s Strange New Respect for Donald Trump

From our Peggy Noodnik Writes Again desk

Peggy Noonan’s Declarations column in the Weekend Wall Street Journal is, according to Politico’s Mike Allen, “jaw-droppingly Trump-friendly (or at least Trump-respectful).”

The GOP Establishment’s Civil War

A free-for-all among Christie, Rubio, Cruz and others, while Trump hovers above it all.

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What everyone’s waiting for is the winnowing. New Hampshire and Iowa will force some Republican candidates out. When we know who’s still in we’ll have a surer sense of the contours of the race.

It is still true that the party has never had a year like this, with the ground shifting beneath its feet. It’s hard to see this clearly because on the surface the things you expect to see happening are happening.

The candidates are starting to throw hard punches. They’re all trying to show they can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee—a necessary talent if you make it to the general election. No point in hand-wringing or telling them to stop on the grounds that what they’re doing will produce, for the Democrats, a badly bloodied GOP nominee.

And etc. until we get to this:

I do not understand the inability or refusal of Republican leaders to take Mr. Trump seriously. They take his numbers seriously—they can read a poll—but they think, as Mr. Bush said, that his support is all about anger, angst and theatrics. That’s part of the story, but the other, more consequential part has to do with real policy issues . . .

And this:

Mr. Trump has functioned this year not as a great communicator or great compromiser but as the great disrupter. He brags that he has brought up great questions and forced other candidates to face them and sometimes change their stands—and he has . . .

And this:

It reflects badly on the party that Donald Trump—whom one journalist this week characterized as a guy running around with his hair on fire—had to become the party’s 2016 thought leader.


Coincidentally, Jack Shafer wrote this piece for Politico on Friday, headlined “Trump’s ‘Strange New Respect’ Moment.” He explains: “The American Spectator‘s Tom Bethell introduced the concept in a 1992 article to ridicule the practice of liberal journalists who would reward conservative politicians who migrated from right to left by commenting in print on how they were now commanding ‘strange new respect’ in Washington, showing ‘growth,’ ‘maturity,’ ‘wisdom,’ and ‘thoughtfulness.’”

Shafer then calls the roll of Trump accolades, from the Washington Post to USA Today to – yes! – Politico.

The one glaring omission? Noonan’s piece, filed roughly around the same time Shafer’s was. So now you’re caught up.

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Should Massachusetts Change Time Zones?

From Florida to Alaska, the time might be up for daylight-saving time.

Via Arian Campo-Flores’s Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition piece yesterday :

Daylight-Saving Time Gets Old

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Fed up with the annual routine of moving clocks ahead in spring and back in fall, a Florida lawmaker is pushing a bill that would make daylight-saving time full-time in the state.

“I’m so over the time change,” said Democratic state Rep. Kristin Jacobs. “Everyone I know is grumbling about the same thing.”

Her measure, dubbed the Sunshine Protection Act, and filed ahead of the legislative session that starts next week, reads in part: “As the ‘Sunshine State,’ Florida should be kept sunny year-round.”

Other states are rebelling, too. From Alaska to Alabama, 21 states have weighed proposals in the past year to tinker with the time, according to the Time Zone Report, a website that tracks such legislation. While some measures are aimed at making daylight-saving time permanent, others seek to abolish it.

Massachusetts is sort of looking to do both. But first, this helpful chart:


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From WCVB: “[Quincy resident Tom Emswiler] wants to shift Massachusetts into Atlantic Time — the same as Nova Scotia — during the period of the year that is now Eastern Standard Time. The shift would put Massachusetts an hour ahead of its bordering states for about four months each year. It also means clocks would not be set ahead when Daylight Savings Time begins each year.”

So, DST all year round.

Barbara Mende adds a different wrinkle at WBUR’s Cognoscenti:

It gets dark here earlier than anywhere in the time zone. The sun sets a full 50 minutes earlier in Boston than in Washington, D.C. But, at present, federal law says we’re stuck with Standard Time . . .

Once on Atlantic Time, we could opt out of DST if we didn’t want a difference in the spring and summer. Such requests need only be approved by the Department of Transportation.

So were does this stand? Just here, according to Time Zone Report:

Massachusetts – 2016
Status Summary

One bill in the Massachusetts legislature during the 2015 session which we believe to still be active:

S 2040 was filed 9/21/2015 by Senator John Keenan, at the request of a constituent, to study the impact to the state of moving from Eastern Time to Atlantic Time.

Legislation Intent

This bill has no direct time change impact, but rather would commission a study of what the impact would be. Ostensibly, if the impact was marginal or positive, the governor would be asked by the legislature (typically in the form of a resolution) to request the US Department of Transportation to consider the time zone change.

Such as change would have the same effect as moving to Year-Round DST, but in a “legal way”.

Links to Legislation

Massachusetts State Legislature

S 2040

Time will tell, eh?

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Why the Wall Street Journal Is a Great Newspaper (Breakthrough Swimmer Diana Nyad Edition)

From the Weekend Wall Street Journal’s latest Playlist feature:

At Sea With Neil Young

A long-distance swimmer finds a 1970s anthem to help get her from Havana to Miami

HC-GS599_Nyad_BV_20140512181526Diana Nyad, 66, was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without shark-cage protection. She is author of the memoir “Find a Way” (Knopf). She spoke with Marc Myers.

In the years before my 2013 swim from Havana to Miami, I memorized the music and lyrics to dozens of classic rock songs. The songs weren’t for distraction but to help sustain my pace and keep my mind from wandering. In the darkest hours, I turned to Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” from 1972 . . .

By 3 a.m., my mind was at its bleakest moment. I had been swimming in pitch darkness for six hours. That’s when I began singing in my head “Needle,” from Neil’s “Harvest” album. It has a surfy, steady rhythm that helped me sustain my 52 strokes per minute. I also related to Neil’s voice, which had the right level of vulnerability and pain.



Diana Nyad’s final strokes: “’Needle’ took over my brain, and singing it 1,000 times produced a tremendous high. By the end, I could see Neil’s face so clearly. Then the sun came up, and I was on to another song.”

And to Miami . . .

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Why Do New York Knicks Players Keep Getting Robbed?

Because they’re morons, that’s why.

Call the roll.

• From The Root:

NY Knicks Player Robbed by 2 Women


Knicks forward Derrick Williams took two women he met at a New York City nightclub back to his apartment. When Williams awoke later that morning, $750,000 worth of valuables were missing and so were the women.

After a night out on the town Friday, New York Knicks forward Derrick Williams returned to his lower-Manhattan apartment with two women in tow.

According to the New York Post, Williams awoke to find the women gone and $750,000 worth of valuables gone with them.


Number One: You bring two strangers home with you?

Number Two: You fall asleep?

What the hell?

• From the Wall Street Journal:

Knicks Player Cleanthony Early Is Shot in Knee, Robbed

Player was held up at gunpoint after night at strip club


New York Knicks forward Cleanthony Early and his girlfriend had just settled into the back seat of an Uber car after a night at a Queens strip club when the car came to halt.

Two to three cars carrying as many as six men boxed in his vehicle along a commercial stretch in the Elmhurst neighborhood around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, and then two men carrying small semiautomatic guns pulled him out, according to a law-enforcement official.

“Give me everything you got,” one of the men said, according to the official.

The men, one masked and one unmasked, took a small amount of cash from Mr. Early, his gold tooth caps, gold neck chains and two cellphones, police said.

Then, one of them shot Mr. Early in the knee.


Number One: You take your girlfriend to a strip club?

Number Two: Two men with semiautomatics steal your gold tooth caps?

What the hell?

Maybe Knicks shaman Phil Jackson needs to abandon the triangle offense and institute a triangle defense for his players.

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Dead Blogging ‘The Winter’s Tale’ at United Parish Brookline

Well the Missus and I trundled up Harvard Street yesterday to see the Actors’ Shakespeare Project production of The Winter’s Tale (through January 3) at Brookline’s United Parish Willet Hall and, say, it was swell.

Fair warning: This late play by William Shakespeare is a hot mess – a tragedy followed by aASP_Winters-Tale-Pre-Prod-Pub_AB_MS_MB_Stratton_McCrady comedy – but director Melia Bensussen pulls it together adroitly on a bare-bones stage that leaves much to the imagination.

Other reviews in case you don’t believe us.

Allyn Burrows (Leontes), Mara Sidmore (Hermione), and Marianna Bassham (Paulina) are all splendid, as are Steven Barkhimer, Nigel Gore, and Jesse Hinson in multiple roles.

It’s a welcome introduction to Boston’s (likely) winter of our discontent.

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Tyler Hicks Wins NYT ‘Year in Pictures’ Bakeoff

For the past few years the hardviewing staff has noted the leading shooters in the New York Times annual The Year in Pictures review.

This year is no exception, with honors going to proud BU alum Tyler Hicks (who also prevailed in 2009).

Appropriately, Hicks got this year’s cover shot.


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Respect to Tyler Hicks, there were two very close runners-up.

First, Sergey Ponomarev, who got the center spread this year (and who got the nod two years ago).


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And also Tomas Munita. Representative sample:


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Concrete salvagers in a building destroyed by the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militant in Gaza.

Over all, 18 Times photographers were included in the year-end review, which the hardcounting staff believes is a 21st Century record, although we have absolutely no proof of that.

Regardless, check them all out.

Every picture really does tell a story.

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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (Umpteenth Plus One Yoko Ono Edition)

Just about every year at Christmastime, Rift Beatle Yoko Ono runs holiday greetings in the New York Times.

This year’s model:


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ImaginePeace is still in the same place, if you want it.

Then again, so is war.

But there may yet be hope: Check out this screen grab from the website.


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Got that? 50% hummus discount for Arabs and Jews who dine together.

Give (chick)peas a chance, eh?

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FTC Cracks Down on Native Advertising

Lately, the Federal Trade Commission has been acting all kinds of feisty.

First it busted two app developers for using “persistent identifiers” to collect kids’ information for targeted advertising. The FTC has also fielded two complaint about the YouTube Kids app, which runs junk-food videos like this but claims they’re not ads.



Now the FTC has issued new rules for the persistent purveyors of native ads, which the agency finally realized have hit epidemic proportions. As the New York Times reports, “the tactic now called native advertising is not new — many radio ads, magazine inserts and infomercials, for example, have long used a similar strategy. But native ads have grown more sophisticated online, and the line between marketing and journalism has blurred.”

To the point where we could use an FTC Deputy Commissioner of Optometry.

And maybe we’re sort of getting one. From Kristi Ellis at WWD . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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